Metal Gear Solid’s unofficial film adaptation is simply amazing.
Films based on video games have been simply disastrous, as most of them only rely on flashy special effects and fairly entertaining (but ultimately bland) stories, while directors and companies take advantage of the popularity of the franchises. Up to now, every single big-budget Hollywood-produced film based on a game has failed miserably to capture its spirit. Most of these “conversions” weren’t able to find a successful formula to adapt the product in a fitting and memorable way. But wait no longer as Metal Gear Solid’s film adaptation is amazing.
It’s ironic that the solution to this problem can be found in independent cinema, especially taking into account that Hollywood films have almost limitless resources. But what this movie lacks in resources it makes it up with love, passion and dedication. Metal Gear Solid Philanthropy was developed with a budget of 10.000€ (approximately $15,000 USD) and it’s produced by an Italian crew of filmmaker students. The film can be downloaded for free in their official site, and there are several qualities and subtitles to choose from. Before watching Philanthropy you should forget any preconceived ideas about what a film based on a game should be or look like as comparing it to huge releases can be quite disappointing, but that doesn’t mean it’s low quality or anything like that.
For those of you who don’t know anything about Metal Gear Solid Philanthropy’s story let me explain. The film doesn’t follow the plot of any of the games but develops a new one instead, as everything in it was carefully planned it fits in their storyline. The movie is set in the year 2007, two years after the incidents of the first game and soon after the events of MGS 2, Philanthropy starts with a flashback set in Outer Heaven in 1995, I won’t explain it because it’s really interesting and prepares the viewer and sets the tone for the rest of the film, but let just say that it gives a clear message about war and how it affects Snake and makes it develop as a complex character. Back in 2007, Snake is on a plane and he is given the instructions for his next mission. He and Otacon are part of a terrorist group called Philanthropy which has as a main objective to destroy every Metal Gear in the world. As a terrorist group they work undercover, independently and of course they are unsupported by any major organization. The mission requires Snake to rescue a senator that is being held as hostage in a base in Armenia. The senator, called Harrison Bishop, has important information about the development of Metal Gears that Armstech is working on.
After that Snake is dropped in a small city where he has to find the rest of his team members. Yes, for the first time in history Snake won’t be alone in his mission, he has the help of Pierre Leclerc, one of the best snipers in the world. This character tends to be reckless and is really passionate about video games, specially his Nintendo DS,. The second member is called Elizabeth Laeken, a deadly soldier who has lots of secrets and a dark past. There aren’t a lot of details explained about them though, probably everything will take place in future installments of the saga as Philanthropy is expected to have at least two more parts. Pierre is usually pretty funny and Elizabeth can be part of a potential romantic story, but these are just inferences based on what happens on the first part.
Similar to the games the film takes a modernist approach, dehumanizing war and portraying it as something horrible and disgusting. The main setting is full of grey and dark colors, the rest of the environments look gloomy and everything else contributes to show that image and is loyal to the main source. The atmosphere is fantastic, as the themes and places are fitting and could be easily take part in a Metal Gear video game, the rest of the elements (weapons and costumes) look great and realistic.
The CGI included is not great, but at least is really well accomplished. The presentation is awesome and adds a unique style, and the script is amazing, all of this shows how much talent there is in Hive Division. The sound effects are quite accurate and sharp, as they feel believable. The musical score fits the movie perfectly and are very reminiscent of the games. The acting is quite impressive, this doesn’t mean it is groundbreaking or anything but it’s very well delivered. Some of the dialogues can be inconsistent though.
Before watching Philanthropy I read many good things about it, but as many fan movies have disappointed me before I wasn’t really sure about it. But now, I can say that I’m a fan of it. The movie is a fun, short experience that just fits nicely in something as complex as the Metal Gear universe. The outstanding special effects and interesting story stand out even when the talented people involved in this project had a very limited amount of money to spend. The only thing I anxiously expect now is a sequel to this entertaining independent flick.